Web services are the de facto standard for communication between systems and devices over the network. In a service-oriented architecture, systems are opened up to other systems and interfaces by deploying web services. This is also the case with SAP where you can build alternative user interfaces that communicate directly with SAP through web services.
There are many scenarios where you may want to provide business users with an interface other than the standard SAP GUI. It could be in situations where non-SAP users are participating in the process or where more role-specific custom interfaces would streamline the business process. User interfaces should never be the bottleneck in business processes. If they are, the interfaces should be improved.
The main challenge with building alternative user interfaces for a large complex generic system like SAP is enabling the required web services. It takes a specialist resource to be able to decipher the standard SAP services and distill those into something that can be used to underpin a new fit-for-purpose user interface. It is certainly not something a business user can or should do.
There is an increasing number of business user-oriented tools in the marketplace that empower business users to create their own interfaces for specific business processes. These tools include Winshuttle Forms, Microsoft InfoPath and Adobe Forms. However, if these tools are to provide an effective approach to building UIs for SAP, then you will also need a no-programming approach to web service enablement.
Creating and deploying web services without programming is exactly what is offered by Winshuttle Server. Once Winshuttle Server is deployed within your environment, you will be able to leverage the familiar Winshuttle Transaction application to create web services by following a simple three-step process:
- Record transaction
- Map fields
- Publish web service
For an existing Winshuttle Transaction user, the whole process does not take much longer than it takes to complete the transaction through the SAP GUI. It is quite powerful as it truly empowers the business to improve an endless number of business processes that interacts with SAP.
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